With the trade deadline behind us, not wanting to be thwarted by some major trade action by Matt Silverman and company, we are rolling out a few mid-season prospect lists for the 2015 Rays farm system. Spoiler alert: it's looking a lot better.
The picture is incomplete as of right now, a lot of these prospects have missed time through injury or could have a major turn around in store. By mid-season of 2014, we'd given up on some kid named Richie Shaffer, who was betting poorly as he adjusted his mechanics, and whose defense was below expectations as he attempted moving across the diamond.
Lo and behold, the 2012 first round draft pick forced his way into the conversation just a year later, and hit his first major league home run last night. Prospect evaluation is hard, and even if we have seen these guys on tape, or asked the right questions of people we respect, prospects can both break your heart or break into the majors in a moment's notice.
With all of that in mind, below is my updated Top-30 prospects, but I encourage you to read Scott's instead. I value his opinion much more than my own, though
We considered the following players to be graduated because they have either exceeded rookie limits or almost certainly will by the end of this season: pitchers Matt Andriese, Alex Colome, Steve Geltz and Nathan Karns, infielder Tim Beckham, catcher Curt Casali and outfielder Steven Souza.
|1||LHP Blake Snell||11||3B Richie Shaffer||21||RHP Burch Smith|
|2||SS Willy Adames||12||1B Casey Gillaspie||22||RHP Andrew Bellatti|
|3||RHP Brent Honeywell||13||OF Boog Powell||23||RHP Chih-Wei Hu|
|4||RHP Taylor Guerrieri||14||RHP Jacob Faria||24||RHP Ryne Stanek|
|5||SS Daniel Robertson||15||OF Mikie Mahtook||25||C Chris Betts|
|6||C Justin O'Conner||16||RHP German Marquez||26||SS Andrew Velazquez|
|7||CF Garrett Whitley||17||2B Kean Wong||27||LHP Enny Romero|
|8||2B Ryan Brett||18||RHP Garrett Fulenchek||28||OF Taylor Motter|
|9||SS Adrian Rondon||19||INF Riley Unroe||29||C Nick Ciuffo|
|10||1B Jake Bauers||20||OF Justin Williams||30||CIF Patrick Leonard|
No. 31 would be this year's fifth round draft choice Joe McCarthy, who I think is a viable Top-30 prospect, depending on how the season shakes out. He has a back injury to overcome. Other draft choices on the board are No. 7 Whitley, and recent Tommy John recipient Chris Betts at No. 25.
Blake Snell is the obvious high-riser on the mid-season list, and it's more than just getting good results in the spreadsheet. While it's worth noting that thirteen to two is not an unheard of leap, it takes practical development to make drastic strides. Karns landed at twelfth on my list and the DRaysBay aggregate list, and he's been better than that rank advertises because he's learned a new change up. If we knew he had three major league pitches, he would have been in the top-five pre-season.
It was a long way to fall for Ryan Brett on my list, whose dislocated shoulder diving back into first base after his big league promotion seems to have hampered his ability. Additionally, there's a question of his defensive profile, and whether he's best suited to second base or the outfield long term. Regardless, he's an enormous talent and I hope to see him back in a Rays jersey shortly.
A few other stand outs are the incredible performance of young studs in the organization Willy Adames, Brent Honeywell, and Jake Bauers. All three are doing incredible things for their age and are worth investigating in your free time. Daniel Robertson is fifth only due to a hamate bone injury, I would imagine he could rise shortly.
In the 11-20 range are a lot of guys who are developing into consistent players who could contribute well on the major league roster. Boog Powell and Kean Wong in particular have produced noting put stellar, consistent reports from those I've talked to, as have Riley Unroe and German Marquez.
And welcome back Richie Shaffer, whose patience at the plate and strength of arm have been impressive at the big league level. I plan on using you as a lesson not to give up on slow starts, which pushes Justin O'Conner and Patrick Leonard higher in this list than I'd initially considered. But with all that said, what are we to make of Tyler Goeddel's talent, who has the profile to be a Rule 5 steal next season if he's actually able to perform, but has yet to do much outside the month of April. He checks every box but the box score itself. We shall see! I'd have him as a Top-30 contender right now, he's 32 on my list.
As a coda, there's a decent number of arms in this system that could be very exciting that aren't listed above, and not limited to these names either: the young RHP Jose Mujica, the power-sapped arm of RHP Jose Dominguez, the wild-wild arm of RHP Jamie Schultz, the sudden rise of reliever RHP Brad Schrieber (who could play a Geltz role down the road), pedigree pick RHP Cameron Varga, and the recently acquired's RHP Eduar Lopez (heat!) and RHP Alexis Tapia (hype!). Any could jump into the Top-30 in the near future.
Thanks for reading.